Tim Farron launches John Leech’s campaign to take on Labour in Manchester

John Leech and Tim FarronOn Monday night, Tim Farron went to Manchester to launch former MP John Leech’s campaign to win the Didsbury West Council ward in Manchester. The Lib Dems missed out by just 162 votes last May. The Labour Council is desperately in need of opposition. At the moment, Labour holds all the seats which is not a healthy situation in any democracy.

John was MP for Manchester Withington from 2005-15.

He told the packed meeting:

Fear has won where liberalism, hope and hard work has been trampled on by politics wreaked by division, complacency and the attitude of ‘that’ll do’. Well it doesn’t. It’s not good enough for me. And it’s not good enough for Manchester.

Nothing keeps me and the Liberal Democrats fighting more than an unjust system. And as long as residents in Manchester aren’t getting the best deal I’ll be here fighting and challenging that every step of the way.

I promised not to give up on the residents of Manchester Withington, and I’m not going to. I will continue to fight for south Manchester as I always have done. I’m not going anywhere.

We will rebuild. We will start making a difference again. We offer a fresh and strong voice on an often complacent council.

Tim Farron said in support of his friend:

Nowhere did last year’s result feel more unjust, more unfair or more undeserved than right here in Manchester Withington.

People talk about pavement politics, community activists and campaigners, well they don’t come any bigger or better than John Leech. His dedication to Manchester is genuinely inspiring and he is absolutely the right man for the job.

His voice is needed more than ever on Manchester council now that it has plummeted into a one party state.

Local resident Rebecca Blinkhorn told how John had helped her in her battle to secure the best treatment for her son:

Councillors had turned their backs and doctors had washed their hands of him, too worried about committing to an opinion and getting it wrong. It was then, that John Leech stood out to me. He took the reigns, he navigated the systems I was lost in, he listened to me when I was shouting at brick walls and he fought my corner.

John wore his heart on winning our battle, he fought our corner every single step of the way, he really was there for us in our darkest hours. And tonight I am so immensely proud that I can now stand here and publicly show our support, tell you this story and say thank you to John for listening to me, supporting us and getting Mike what he needed. He really is one of a kind.

If it wasn’t for John, my son would still be severely ill, in a wheelchair and living a really unpleasant life.

Good luck to John.  If you can help him in his fight against an unchallenged, complacent Labour council, sign up here. 

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  • The party is facing a massive slog to even win one seat in big urban areas like Manchester. Sadly because of the toxic legacy left by Clegg and Co soon Birmingham and Sheffield will surely follow and be Lib Dem free zones. All those years of solid hard work and good decent Councillors thrown to the scrap heap for a tiny taste of Westminster rule. Poor Tim I feel his task is doomed.

  • I think that we should all do our best to cheer Silvio up. The big Lib Dem losses in metropolitan boroughs occurred early in the last parliament, and, if I remember correctly,
    we achieved a respectable performance in the most recent round of elections in metropolitan borough wards, broadly holding our ground in e.g. Birmingham, Sheffield and Stockport, and doing really quite well in e.g. Hull and Newcastle upon Tyne. No doubt some one can provide exact chapter and verse for this.

  • The hatred of Clegg is as not widespread as people like to claim. In fact most people are slowly realising that actually he did much to stop the Tories doing their worst.

    The only people with a real axe to grind against Clegg are not liberals, but UKIP voters and the far left, who conveniently use him as a punching bag, to deflect from the fact that their respective ideologies and protectionism is not supported by the bulk of the British public, who are naturally global liberals.

  • David Allen 30th Mar '16 - 7:42pm

    Stimpson, if you’re right, what’s your explanation for us still being 6% in the polls?

  • Poor old John Leech. I saw his previous campaigns in Withington and they were great, full of enthusiasm, but all about getting rid of tuition fees in an area full of students. How that man stayed loyal to Clegg I will never know, he was a dead man walking as soon as Clegg broke his pledge. I know the area well – I used to have a flat in Didsbury – and John Leech was well liked. If he was standing as an independent I think he would have a very good chance of winning, but as a Lib Dem it will be difficult for him. That said there isn’t much student accommodation in Didsbury so he will have a chance.

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